Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

George Qumsieh (1933-2008)

Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

George Qumsieh (1933-2008)

Article excerpt

"AHLAN WA SAHLAN-Welcome!" was the greeting guests received from George Qumsieh when they arrived at East Jerusalem's American Colony Hotel. With his charming smile, twinkling eyes and gracious manner, the kindhearted Palestinian doorman represented the epitome of Arab hospitality.

On Feb. 6, 2008, George Qumsieh died of heart failure in Beit Sahour, near the Shepherds' Field outside of Bethlehem. The beloved patriarch of his close-knit family, he is survived by his wife, Nehya, seven children and 22 grandchildren.

A fixture at the posh Nablus Road hotel for 50 years, Qumsieh began work at the Colony in 1948, at the age of 15, after his father, a driver for the British Army in Palestine, was wounded in fighting between British troops and Jewish militants. Through the years he saw history in the making-literally right before his eyes, as he carried the bags of guests ranging from John Bagot Glubb "Glubb Pasha" to U.S. Secretary of State George P. Schultz.

For journalists-such as this reporter and her husband-the debonair doorman was an invaluable resource. Qumsieh knew everyone who was anyone in the Palestinian and Israeli political arena, as well as international journalists. …

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